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New Health Secretary Sajid Javid will update MPs this afternoon on whether lockdown can ease at all next week – less than 48 hours after he took the job.

Disgraced Matt Hancock's replacement is set to give a statement to the House of Commons at or after 3.30pm on the roadmap out of restrictions in England.

While he is not expected to end restrictions early on July 5 – the "break clause" point after they were extended by four weeks from June 21 – he could announce minor tweaks or signal a more certain end to lockdown in three weeks' time.

The statement will be delayed to late in the afternoon if there are urgent debate in Parliament.

England's restrictions are currently due to end on July 19 – and Mr Javid yesterday said he wants to return to normal as soon as possible.

Speaking to reporters outside the Department of Health offices, Mr Javid ignored shouted questions about whether lockdown rules would end as planned on July 19.

But the former Home Secretary and Chancellor added: “We are still in a pandemic. I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible.

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“And that will be my most immediate priority, to see that we can return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible.”

Mr Javid has kept his powder fairly dry in public statements on Covid since he quit in a row with No10 in February 2020.

He has only said "lockdown" once in the House of Commons, but when he did, he said: "The faster our economy can bounce back, the easier it will be to manage our debt in the future."

He added: "The Government have already spent more than £300 billion, every penny of that borrowed. While low interest rates have certainly helped, we cannot expect such a benign lending environment to last forever."

While Matt Hancock was on the pro-lockdown side of the Cabinet table, sources today suggest Mr Javid is a "real lockdown sceptic".

Sajid Javid will bring a new voice to crucial lockdown meetings in the government
(Image: REUTERS)

That could give a better chance of all restrictions ending as hoped on July 19.

Boris Johnson hopes step four will end all legal restrictions in England, most notably the "rule of six" on indoor social gatherings.

Step four could allow nightclubs and big events to reopen, axe mandatory mask rules in pubs and public transport, and allow pub-goers to stand at the bar.

But scientists have repeatedly warned some measures may be needed into the future to keep Covid at bay, even if they are not mandatory.

Step four was delayed from June 21 to July 19. Boris Johnson included a two-week break clause on July 5, but warned it was "unlikely" it would be used.

Health bosses have urged new Health Secretary Sajid Javid to be a "voice of caution" in the Cabinet over the pressures the coronavirus pandemic is heaping on the NHS.

NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Covid is the most pressing issue, the number of cases in hospital are rising.

"Covid is an issue and he needs to be a voice of caution in the Cabinet in terms of the potential pressures in the health service."

But Mr Hancock became unpopular with some Tory MPs who believed that he was an obstacle to the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

As well as the pandemic, Mr Javid has a myriad of issues to deal with such as upcoming NHS reforms, the backlog patients are facing for treatment, and a long-expected social care plan.

He will also face questions over NHS pay and staff burnout, as British Medical Association (BMA) council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned he faces a "baptism of fire".

Mr Javid said he is aware of the "huge responsibility" of the job.